The Iglesia Anglicana de Chile (IACH) – currently a diocese of the Anglican Church of South America – will become the 40th province of the Anglican Communion. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will travel to Santiago next month to formally inaugurate the new province, after both the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council, and a majority of Anglican Communion Primates, confirmed that the diocese should be given provincial status. The decision to become an independent Anglican province follows a sustained period of growth of the Anglican Church in Chile and is designed to make further growth easier.
Bishop Héctor Zavala Muñoz, more commonly known as Bishop Tito, will become Primate of the new Province when it comes into being on 4 November. In an open letter to Anglicans in Chile, he said that the diocese had “never ceased complying with all the requirements and procedures” requested of it since its Synod sought to become an autonomous independent province of the Anglican Communion in November 2015.
“Today we see that it was worth all the effort and we thank God that all this will be for the extension of His Kingdom in our country and that many, including those who have come to live among us, may know Christ as Lord and Saviour,” he said. “I thank the members of the Permanent Commission who worked tirelessly to make this dream a reality. And in a special way, I thank the Electoral College that for its work and discernment it was possible to elect the three new diocesan bishops.
“It is incredible to see that in 2015 we were a single diocese, and today we are four dioceses: Valparaíso, Santiago, Concepción, and Temuco.”
A special service will take place at Grange School in Santiago at 11 am CLST (2 pm GMT) on Sunday 4 November. “That Sunday will be a historic, unique and unrepeatable day for our Chilean Church, the Province of South America and the Anglican Communion,” Bishop Tito said. “We will have several visits that will accompany us: primates, archbishops, bishops, pastors, academics, missionary societies, etc. They will come from Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia-Oceania and the Americas.”
He added: “May Christ receive all honour and all glory; and his presence accompany us in this new stage that begins for the Iglesia Anglicana de Chile.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “I look forward to my visit to Chile in November to preach and preside at the inauguration of the new Province of Iglesia Anglicana de Chile which will become the 40th province of the Anglican Communion.
“It has been inspiring to see the flourishing of the Church in Chile under the leadership Bishop Tito Zavala, in particular its commitment to evangelism, growth through church planting and discipleship of young people.
“I look forward to welcoming Bishop Tito as a fellow primate, and ask for prayers for him and God’s blessing on all of the people of Chile at this significant moment for the life of the Church in the country.”